Physician, heal thyself
- BY Gary Buck
- November 2nd, 2010
Last week, I traveled down the mountain to Denver for a fascinating experience – aptitude testing at the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (JOCRF). Their name has come up in several different books and articles I’ve read recently, so my wife, Jennifer, and I decided to give it a try and see if our current professions were actually “in tune” with our core aptitudes.
You can read about the Johnson O’Connor philosophy at their website, or via the book “Your Natural Gifts” [Margaret E. Broadley]. My understanding is that O’Connor has determined that there are a basic set of core aptitudes that a person either has in abundance or does not. Each person’s aptitudes are part of their genetic makeup, and do not change over time. The key to professional success and/or happiness lies in finding a career that aligns with your personal collection of aptitudes.
Over two days, we were tested in a wide variety of ways, usually timed and with a test administrator. The tests explored a diverse range of exercises from manual dexterity to rhythm memory to “wiggly block” stacking, all intended to discover in which particular aptitudes we excelled. The overall experience was outstanding and mind-opening, as we were eager to gain some meaningful self-awareness and the JOCRF staff were wonderfully friendly and highly competent about their system.
As it turns out, I’m already doing a job that is close to my ideal path. In high school, I intuited that a career in architecture was the way to go, but ended up studying electrical engineering in college. That first instinct was spot on, according to the JOCRF results. Other possibilities include medicine/surgery, scientific research, urban planning, archaeology or music composition. Anything that uses my combination of convergent thinking, numerical, spatial, auditory and memory aptitudes would leverage my particular strengths and provide a rewarding career. Without telling the JOCRF staff what I currently do for a living, they informed me that I was highly suited for a job that observed multi-dimensional environments, diagnosed problems and developed solutions to fix them. I’d like to think that the VIBE process represents those aptitudes exactly.
Ironically, my wife the architect tested highly in the “Designer” pattern. Perhaps we could merely switch business cards and be done with it. The best part of the experience may be that we both became aware of aptitudes we didn’t think we had, as well as “missing aptitudes” that explained some frustrations in our current professional lives. Now comes the challenge to use my particular aptitudes to diagnose and fix those areas of my job that aren’t exactly aligned to those same aptitudes. Physician, heal thyself.
Especially interesting for me was how this “research” project was very much akin to the efforts that I strongly recommend to my clients. Very often, I push companies to use research methods to discover whether their products, marketing efforts and end-to-end customer experiences are designed to be in alignment with what their target audiences want and need. Now I find that I am the customer, with my set of wants and needs (professional satisfaction and happiness), trying to determine if my “customer experiences”, or choice of career and work environment, are in tune (vibing?) with those desires.
How “self-aware” are you about your customers and their wants, needs and passions? When was the last time you “tested” them to determine if the experiences you provide to them are in alignment with their particular “aptitudes”? Are you creating VIBE with them, or do you need to tweak and adjust your brand experience to narrow that gap? You should find out immediately. And if you need the assistance of someone with convergent thinking, numerical, spatial, auditory and memory aptitudes to help you diagnose your situation, now you know who to call.